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 By Jason Dasey

Malaysia's Brendan Gan to miss AFF Suzuki Cup with second ACL injury

Malaysia and Kelantan midfielder Brendan Gan
Kelantan and Malaysia star Brendan Gan, left, will be out for up to 10 months due to a serious knee injury.

Malaysia midfielder Brendan Gan admits he's devastated to miss November's AFF Suzuki Cup after suffering his second major knee injury in less than two seasons.

The Australian-born workhorse was carried off during Malaysia's 3-0 friendly defeat in Indonesia last Tuesday with a rupture of the ACL in his left knee, just 19 months after suffering a similar misfortune in his right knee while playing for Kelantan in February 2015.

A scan after the squad's return home to Malaysia revealed his worst fears, and he is likely to be out for up to 10 months.

"I have a full rupture of ACL, with meniscus tearing on both lateral and medial [ligaments], with also buckling of the PCL," Gan told ESPN FC after reading the grim medical report.

"I was getting better and better during this season, and would have loved to have played in the AFF Suzuki Cup. But I've just got to move on now. "

After the international retirement in July of four JDT players, including fellow midfielder Safiq Rahim, Gan had grown in importance in the plans of head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee. He'd cemented himself in the team since making his senior debut in March.

But Ong, and assistant coach Brad Maloney, will now need to make an alternative plan, with Malaysia in Group B in the Suzuki Cup, based in Myanmar.

"It's a huge disappointment, particularly leading into the Suzuki Cup," Maloney told ESPN FC. "Brendan has been a regular starter for the national team whenever he's been available, and had cemented his spot in the team's engine room.

"It's a huge loss, but he is such a professional. I know that he will come back fitter and stronger than ever. We will do everything we can now to support him through his recovery and rehab process."

Gan suffered the injury in the attacking third of the field, as they looked to put pressure on Indonesia in the first half of last Tuesday's match in Solo.

"It was my left knee, and I did it just turning in the match," the 28-year-old recalled. 

"But I do think that I can come back stronger, to be honest. My right knee feels amazing after going through a major operation last year. and I feel so much stronger then before, so I don't see why I can't do that with my left one now."

His injury is also a major blow for Kelantan where has become hugely popular after joining them at the end of 2014, occasionally captaining the state team. His strong performances attracted the interest of Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) in 2015, but chose to stay loyal to the Kota Bharu-based club.

The ex-Sydney FC junior, who has worked as a guest TV host and reporter for Malaysian network Astro, added that he would document his recovery process from a second major knee injury in two seasons through a video blog.

"A lot of people last time asked me about the rehab and surgery, and how to overcome such a thing, so I will probably document it and make vlog about it. It should be good to keep me going.

"l'll definitely be back though. I've just got to focus on getting better."

Jason Dasey is ESPN FC Senior Editor in Singapore. Formerly Asian editor of FourFourTwo, he was also a CNN and BBC broadcaster. Twitter: @JasonDasey.

 

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